I was 18. He was 21. He had finished graduating from the Lucknow University and I was just wondering where to go to next. Those were the hip Nineties when email hadn’t hit town and owning a pager was a status symbol. He suggested ‘an intelligent girl’ like me should be going to New Delhi. Golly! I had never even thought of that. Me? The small-town shy girl in the huge international city of New Delhi? Yes, for me then, it was an ‘international city’.
We had been dating for the last three years. He would walk with me to college and drop me home. He would help me with homework and stuff and of course all my class envied me! Bonus: I was on a cloud with him. The occasional touching while I rode pillion on his scooter after the annual school function that got over late or, the holding of hands on a weekend walk through Hazratganj when I would be sure none of our relatives would spot us were all moments of PREMIUM VALUE.
“I am there to support you in Delhi,” he assured me so, I worked hard and with my kind of brains, I made it easily. He suggested he would put me up with his ‘sister’ Miriam. I agreed. It was a small one-room flat on rent. The room doubled up as a drawing room during day and a corner would be cordoned off as kitchen during mornings. I wasn’t sure whether this was going to be easy for me but I was on a high in the ‘City of Love’.
After my admission before Delhi University was to begin session, he said he would stay over for a week as Miriam was going for a short holiday. The first night after dinner that I cooked, he cuddled up to me and fondled my hair. I was excited. He touched me and we kissed. I squirmed. That was not what the books said.
I held back. What’s wrong, he wanted to know, we were supposed to be in love... right? Right, yes! But did love mean accepting something I wasn’t going to be comfortable with? He held back. It was just that I had several moral issues and questions I wanted to sort out with this man I respected as a ‘husband’
I was already scared that his kissing and fondling had made me pregnant. Bigger ‘horrors’ waited for me over the week. This was a man I had loved and trusted.
After three days of the first-kiss-and-fondling-and-my withrawing routine repeating, he assaulted me. I suffered bruises on my face and back. I was raped by the weekend by the one person I was ready to do anything for and by the one person I had chosen to revolt against my parents for. Miriam wasn’t his sister. Later, I came to know he also contracted AIDS because of unsafe sex.
God was kind to me. The Delhi pad was just a flat USED by several young people in the city for... (I won’t go into that). I managed to escape when he was asleep. Today, it’s been over a decade. I am happy. But, I want to tell all those young people out there, it could have been worse. Love doesn’t mean getting physical if YOU DONT WANT TO. Love doesn’t mean doing anything that you are NOT comfortable with. You have to prove nothing to nobody in love.
In my extensive work with a social work group with young people, majority of girls have fallen victim to unprotected sex because they felt they would lose their boyfriend if they did not agree to sex. If a guy insists on sex, he’s not worth it. My life is proof. His five years of support didn’t mean anything. Follow your instincts...
(The writer’s identity has been withheld to protect privacy.)